La Salle Debain

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Open Source @ Consolidated Braincells Inc.

About La Salle Debain

This is a weblog I'm keeping about my work on Debian and any other useful Debian related info I come across. It is not meant to compete with other news sources like Debian Weekly News or Debian Planet. Mostly it is just a way for me to classify and remember all the random bits of information that I have floating around me. I thought maybe by using a blog it could be of some use to others too. Btw. "I" refers to Jaldhar H. Vyas, Debian developer for over 5 years. If you want to know more about me, my home page is here.

The name? Debain is a very common misspelling of Debian and la salle de bains means bathroom in French.

If you have a comment to make on something you read here, feel free to write to me at

You can get an rss 0.91 feed of any page in the blog by appending ?flav=rss to the end of the URL.

Tue, 29 Mar 2005

Real Ultimate Power!

The Official Debian Developers Home Page.

Btw do you like my new hackergotchi? A few days ago, Antonio "gnrfan" Ognio offered to redo my old one. With a name like gnrfan I was a little afraid he might draw a mullet on me but it actually came out very nicely. Thanks gnrfan!

Jaldhar Vyas

posted at: 23:38 | #

Mon, 21 Mar 2005

I've Seen The Nybble And The Damage Done

The big news in Debian of late has been the meeting of members of the ftpmaster and release teams in Vancouver and the proposal for post-sarge releases that came out of it. This spawned a response of over 1000 messages which I've more or less ignored uptil now if for no other reason than such a monster kills IMAP threading with Dovecot. (Admittedly my mail server is rather underpowered which is a big factor.)

Well, last night I arrived in Atlanta and I was bored and couldn't sleep and my hotel had Internet access so I read the Nybbles thread. And read and read.

I have to admit that like many, my first reaction was consternation that we are "dropping architectures." I felt the same way initially as I have just gotten through telling lots of people at Linuxworld that one of the reasons Debian was so much better than Red Hat, is that we don't just drop arcitectures. But if you read the announcement and the clarifications posted afterwards, whatever dropping is to be done is possibly only temporary and if the porting teams can get their acts together, Etch may have just as many architectures as sarge. There seems to be some concern that the inclusion requirements are arbitrary or set too high but these are implementation details and it is after all just a proposal, not a fiat as some people seem to think. It will all be worked out in due course.

Why did it come to this? Unfortunately, for all our vaunted size, we simply do not have the manpower to keep all these architectures in sync and release in a timely manner. (Most Debian developers only care about their own packages. Relatively few work on "big picture" issues.) This proposal is an admission that for now we have bitten of more than we can chew and from now on growth must occur in a more restrained and well-planned manner. There is no cause for gloom and doom. We are still growing. The Debian product will not change in drastic ways.

As you can see, I now feel that the Vancouver proposal is a good thing minus a few blunders. (I mean, "Second Class Citizens"? Nobody at the meeting realized this would be a red rag to bulls?)

It's also time to think of "second class" maintainers. Many of the developers are simply not capable of/not interested in/don't have the time to do the hard work needed to convert a big blob of software into a stable, well-integrated operating system. Yet they have the same weight as people who work their arses off for the project. Tier 1 developers should get more powers to do NMUs and other things necessary to do their jobs without bureaucratic hassles. They would need to renew their status in some way at say 6 months to weed out deadbeats. Conversely Tier 2 developers would be easily be able to step up to Tier 1 if they wanted. These labels would cast no aspersions on the abilities or characters of the labelled. They would just be an indication of the amount of investment the person is able to make in the project. I have no illusions anything like this is going to be adopted anytime soon but it's something to think about.

The other big political thing going on is the 2005 DPL elections. Here's how I'm going to vote in reverse order.

(7) Jonathan Walther

He manages to alienate everyone he comes across. Not a good quality in a DPL.

(6) None of the Above.

(5) Angus Lees

Not understanding the constitutional process of nomination and failing to provide an initial platform wasn't encouraging.

(4) Anthony Towns

Would make a great DPL but a large part of his platform involved being nice and people otherwise being trusted to do the right thing and sadly that just won't fly in the Debian we have today.

(3) Matthew Garrett

His platform intrigued me. He has a common-sense approach to the DFSG which I like. But he kind of wussed out in the debate and gave safe "politician" answers like everyone else.

(2) Andreas Schuldei

Also nice. Next! What do I have against nice people? Nothing at all in real life but Debian is a huge, sprawling, strongly opinionated bunch of people. It takes a forceful personality to sort out that kind of mess. Anyway Andreas and Branden are campaigning as a team so he may yet be in a position of influence.

(1) Branden Robinson

Branden has the qualities needed in a DPL. He is passionate about our ideals, able to express them articulately, and charismatically both within the project and to outsiders. He takes the initiative to get things done. In particular with the whole SPI treasurer debacle he did the best he could with a bad situation. Branden gets my vote.

posted at: 11:40 | #